Client Services

The front desk at the Galerie St. Etienne.

The Galerie St. Etienne prides itself on its depth of expertise in the selected areas of art in which it specializes. We offer a broad array of services to both private collectors and public institutions.

SALES AND PURCHASES OF ART WORKS

By virtue of our extensive history of involvement with Expressionism and self-taught art, the Galerie St. Etienne is uniquely qualified to advise collectors regarding the purchase and sale of works in these two fields.

In evaluating an acquisition, it is important for a collector to take into account:

• The quality and importance of the specific piece

and its relationship to other works by the artist

• The condition of the item in question

The above two factors need to be evaluated in comparison to other works by the artist that have been sold recently, as well as other works that may one day come to market. Simply scanning auction results does not give the complete picture, because information about private sales is excluded, and published result lists give no information about relative quality or condition.

Selling a work of art involves the same considerations as buying. Generally, there is a trade-off between time and money; that is to say, if you need to sell quickly, you may very well have to accept a lower price. This time element is often an important factor at auction: sometimes the time pressure stimulates a bidding frenzy (predicated on a sense of "now or never") that drives the price up. However, if a bidding frenzy fails to materialize (as is most often the case), the price netted will be less than that which can be obtained through a responsible dealer.

Although we do not choose to buy everything that is offered to us, the Galerie St. Etienne usually gives sellers the option of an outright cash sale. However, because in this case we are investing working capital without any promise of a quick return, the price paid will be less than that which could benetted in a consignment arrangement. In a consignment arrangement, the seller is not paid until the gallery actually sells the work. Because little money is expended up front, the Galerie St. Etienne takes a lower commission than is factored into an outright purchase. Generally speaking, our commissions are based on the percentages charged by the auction houses, if the buyer's and sellers fees are added together. The more valuable the work being sold, the lower the percentage charged (and vice versa). The Galerie St. Etienne assumes most expenses connected with a consignment, including insurance, publicity and usually photography. If restoration or reframing is required, we will as a rule advance the money to pay for these expenses, with the understanding that they will be deducted from the sales proceeds or reimbursed if the work is returned unsold. All such additional charges are approved in advance by the seller, and the terms of the consignment are confirmed in a written agreement. Unlike auction houses, the Galerie St. Etienne charges no commission on works that are returned unsold. The average term of a Galerie St. Etienne consignment is one year, although some works sell much more quickly than this, and others take longer. One option sometimes chosen by sellers is to consign the work for an agreed-upon period of time, with the option to sell it outright to the gallery if no buyer is found during the prescribed period. For further information, please contact us at gallery@gseart.com.

Buying and Selling at Auction Buying or selling at auction is a little like gambling. No matter which side of the transaction you are on, it is possible to win big, but also to lose. Dealers, on the other hand, operate on the premise that at any given moment, every work of art has its correct price: neither too high nor too low. In this fashion, we endeavor to be fair to both the seller and the buyer. The Galerie St. Etienne is available to help collectors negotiate the sometimes confusing world of auctions. We will advise you on condition and other relevant factors, help you determine the correct price and bid on your behalf. If you choose to sell at auction, we can field proposals from the various houses and assist you in choosing the best one. For more information, see the Art Dealers Association Guide for Collectors, written by Galerie St. Etienne co-director Jane Kallir.